Things to consider after you’ve delivered
Take your time:
There’s a lot of pressure (internally and externally) to get back in to shape after you’ve had a baby. It’s essential that you don’t get pulled in to anything with a lot of impact too quickly, take your time to build up a graded exercise programme and work from the core out. This way you will avoid injury and your fitness will safely return.
Pelvic floor and core:
Many women know they should be doing their pelvic floor exercises postnatally but with a new baby to look after and a lot of sleep deprivation, it can be hard to always remember to do them. A great way to help you remember is to try to do them when you are feeding. Alternatively there are also lots of apps available to help with reminding us to do these exercises, a really great one is called Squeezy which was developed by a women’s health physiotherapist.
Core exercises are also very important to start postnatally. Very gently pilates style exercises are great to start in the first 6 weeks following delivery and then gradually increasing the difficulty of these from 6 weeks onwards. I normally ask the women I see to avoid crunches for the first 12 weeks, as they put a lot of pressure on the abdomen and pelvic floor.
If you are worried that you might have a diastasis then seek advice from a Specialist Women’s Health Physiotherapist.
Pelvic stability and posture:
Pelvic stability should be high on the list, especially if you suffered from pelvic girdle pain during pregnancy. Your posture may also have been affected by your pregnancy and this is also important to address as it can lead to pain around the pelvis and lower back if we are in the wrong postures during the day.
What exercises can I do to get going initially?
After reading all the above advice a lot of women get scared about then starting any form of exercise as they worry they will cause pain or damage tissue. If you are sensible in your approach and are gradually building up your intensity of exercise then that is a great place to start.
Deep abdominal (Transverse abdominis) strengthening is a great one to start but many people struggle to identify this muscle. The following link http://www.dianelee.ca/article-training-deep-core-muscles.php should give you a better understanding of how to engage your deep abdominals. You can then progress to leg slides or single leg table tops as you feel able.
Wall squats are a great way to get the glutes or buttock muscles firing and means that initially you don’t overload the pubis or the lower back. Again as you feel more comfortable you can progress to free standing squats and then lunges if any pelvic girdle pain has resolved.
If you are concerned or worried about any aches, pains or pelvic floor problems relating to your pregnancy then it is always worth seeking help from a Specialist Women’s Health Physiotherapist.
Hope that helps to start things for you lovely ladies postnatally.
Dee and Lisa
Published: February 08, 2018